Changes a-foot

It’s been over a week since I last wrote and a lot has happened! Firstly, I’ve had a week away from home, staying with my family at country Victoria. I travelled up by train using my free pensioner ticket (all aged-pensioners get two trips per year). My ex-railway son insisted I should pay the extra $7 to upgrade to ‘First class’ and that was certainly worthwhile on a more than three-hour journey!

So, I then had a whole week when I didn’t see Dorothy, and that was the first time in many years! At first, I was still tense, tired, and felt very guilty that I had abandoned her. Ultimately, after a couple of days away, I realised the futility of that attitude and resolved to relax and try to get my mind focussed on some other activity. Not easy for me! My family had saved up some newspaper crosswords for me – that was a start. And I went walking in the adjacent park each day, my son took me on a few local drives and we met up with some of his friends for a meal or two. They also introduced me to Netflix and manoeuvred me into watching the start of a TV series, then gifted me a subscription so I could continue watching when I returned home! So, it was a low activity week; I had no cooking, shopping, or cleaning chores and did manage to unwind quite a bit.

My son and daughter-in-law drove me back to Melbourne and collected our granddaughter from the airport (she had been studying language at a Japanese university for a term) and we all stayed at my place overnight. Once they had gone, my focus returned to Dorothy and I hastened to visit her again, and then my bubble burst, and reality resumed.

Sadly, Dorothy hardly responded to my arrival but did warm somewhat over the next hour or so. My rational mind kept reminding me I should have expected it, but my emotional side was, again, dominant and I was pushed back into melancholy and despair. I came home, resolved to overcome this mental roller-coaster before it dumps me deeper into remorse and self-pity. I know that being physically active helps me a lot, so I hopped into the chores that resulted from my family visit here. The bed linen and towels needed to be washed and dried and the beds re-made, food supplies needed reviewing and meals organised, the car had to be booked for service, and I needed to see my doctor for review and medication renewal……OK, keep busy, and on your feet, Bill! .

Yesterday, Sunday, I stayed on after church for a parish lunch, then visited Dorothy. Unexpectedly, our (country) son also called in to see Mum, and we three went for a walk in a nearby park. Then, last night, my daughter who lives locally had me over for a lovely, home-cooked meal with her family. Yesterday was certainly very full; I was over-fed and kept busy, but it did contribute to a restless night’s sleep!

Writing these notes does help me, though, to feel grounded. It requires some discipline, and time, and forces me to consider what’s next in my life….. Well, for one thing, I have now firmly decided to not visit Dorothy every day, and today is a non-visit day. I will attend to some little jobs around home, go for a walk, read a magazine, visit a neighbour, prepare my lunch and dinner, etc. Tomorrow, my weekly ‘Government Home Care Package’ lady will be here for an hour to help by cleaning the bathroom and kitchen. She will also change the bed linen and, if I’m quick about getting the sheets through the washer before she leaves, she’ll hang them on the clothesline before she goes. My back and shoulders are so weak these days that lifting anything heavy above shoulder height is painful. Not to grizzle, but very often my knees also hurt quite badly, too!

That reminds me: “Get off your bottom, Bill, get up on your feet and walk….more!”